PA Issue Watch: Syria

PA Issue Watch:  Syria

Peace Action Wis­con­sin calls for an end to the flood of weapons being fun­neled into Syria, opposes U.S. mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion, and calls for a mean­ing­ful and objec­tively mod­er­ated dia­logue between Syr­ian gov­ern­ment and oppo­si­tion forces.

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5/14/13:  Amer­i­can Doc­tors Reach Out To Syria

The civil war in Syria feels far away for many Amer­i­cans. But it hits close to home for one Chicago doc­tor and has pulled him, and many of his col­leagues, to the front lines.

5/13/13:  Video Of Syr­ian Rebel Eat­ing Soldier’s Heart Goes Viral, Con­demned By Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch has said that the extremely graphic video is fur­ther proof that Syria is descend­ing into sec­tar­ian vio­lence. WARNING: Graphic content.

5/9/13:  Free Syr­ian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jab­hat al-Nusra

Syria’s main armed oppo­si­tion group, the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA), is los­ing fight­ers and capa­bil­i­ties to Jab­hat al-Nusra, an Islamist organ­i­sa­tion with links to al-Qaida that is emerg­ing as the best-equipped, financed and moti­vated force fight­ing Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

5/8/13:  As Syria Diplo­macy Gains, Kerry to Announce More Aid

The addi­tional aid, accord­ing to a State Depart­ment state­ment, would bring the Amer­i­can total to about $510 million.

5/6/13:  Syria cri­sis: UN’s Del Ponte says evi­dence rebels ‘used sarin’   Carla Del Ponte told Swiss TV that there were “strong, con­crete sus­pi­cions but not yet incon­tro­vert­ible proof”.

5/2/13:  Lit­tle inter­na­tional sup­port for arm­ing Syria rebels  Grow­ing evi­dence that the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment of Bashar al-Assad may have used chem­i­cal weapons against its own peo­ple has led to a crescendo of demands for the US to inter­vene in the Syr­ian civil war. But nei­ther the Amer­i­can peo­ple, nor Euro­peans, nor Syria’s neigh­bours whole­heart­edly sup­port such a move.

5/2/13:  Syria chem­i­cal weapons evi­dence ‘too degraded’ for proof  British defence sec­re­tary Philip Ham­mond fears West can no longer prove chem­i­cal weapons attacks because blood and soil sam­ples ‘degrade over time.’

4/25/13:  Iraq II?   White House Not 100% Sure on Use of Chem­i­cal Weapons in Syria  “Given our own his­tory with intel­li­gence assess­ments, includ­ing intel­li­gence assess­ments related to weapons of mass destruc­tion, it’s very impor­tant that we are able to estab­lish this with cer­tainty and that we are able to present infor­ma­tion in a way that is airtight.”

4/25/13:  Chuck Hagel says Syria used chem­i­cal weapons on ‘small scale’  US: ‘some degree of vary­ing con­fi­dence’ of Sarin use

4/24/13:  Israel says Syria used chem­i­cal weapons; Rus­sia warns of ‘Iraqi sce­nario’  Are Syr­ian forces using chem­i­cal weapons in their years-long fight to hold on to power?

4/11/13:  Syria and North Korea dom­i­nate G8 meet­ing  Syr­ian oppo­si­tion lead­ers renew appeals for lethal aid as for­eign min­is­ters of Group of Eight nations meet in London.

4/11/13:  Syria activists reject Qaeda call for Islamic state  Syr­ian activists on Thurs­day dis­missed as “bla­tant inter­fer­ence” a week­end call by Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri for an Islamic state to be estab­lished in the strife-torn country.

4/10/13:  Syria cri­sis: Al-Nusra pledges alle­giance to al-Qaeda  The leader of the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group fight­ing in Syria, has pledged alle­giance to the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

4/10/13:  Syria air strikes ‘tar­get civil­ians’  Rights group says more than 4,300 civil­ians killed in gov­ern­ment strikes since July, and calls the raids war crimes.

4/9/13:  Good news: AQ in Iraq merges with Syr­ian jihadists  Given the dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion and weak­ness of the civil­ian oppo­si­tion group, it is vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed that the chaos in any post-Assad Syria will favor those who are most ruth­less and have the most guns.

4/9/13:  ‘It’s Not Nor­mal’: Syr­ian War Trans­forms Lives  “The most impor­tant thing is, he will change from a sol­dier to civil police uni­form,” she said as the rebels shed their cam­ou­flage and donned the new uniforms

UN agency ‘broke’ as Syria refugee funds run out  A UN agency has said it will soon be unable to pro­vide “life-saving” aid to Syr­ian refugees in Jor­dan and other coun­tries due to funds run­ning out.

Syr­ian rebels claim to seize bor­der post  Oppo­si­tion fight­ers say they over­ran army gar­ri­son that defends the country’s main south­ern bor­der cross­ing into Jordan.

‘Phoenix jihadist’s’ dad claims son worked in Syria for CIA  As US Army vet­eran Eric Har­roun awaits trial in Vir­ginia for allegedly fight­ing along­side al-Qaeda sup­port­ers, the man’s father claims he was work­ing for the CIA and was report­ing back to the agency from Syria.

US ex-soldier ‘fought in Syria with ter­ror group’  A for­mer US sol­dier has been charged with using a weapon out­side the US as he fought against Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces, pros­e­cu­tors say.

Once IT man­ager in Texas, now top Syr­ian rebel  Ghas­san Hitto once held court as an infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy man­ager in a safe Texas office. Now he’s halfway across the world, in charge of a cor­ner of hell

U.N. with­draws staffers as vio­lence rages in Syria  The United Nations is with­draw­ing inter­na­tional staffers from Syria for the time being after shelling near their liv­ing quar­ters, a spokesman said Monday.

Iraq to search more Syria-bound flights  Iraq says it will tighten secu­rity searches of flights from Iran to Syria through Iraqi air­space fol­low­ing US pressure.

Syr­ian rebels ‘seize’ key town near Jor­dan  Rebels destroy three army check­points at the entrances to Dael, the lat­est town to be cap­tured, UK-based watch­dog says.

Syria’s rebels: Entan­gle­ment at home and abroad  The rebels are buf­feted by inter­nal ruc­tions and regional diplomacy

3/18/13:  Top gen­eral urges cau­tion on Syria options, rebels

3/18/13:  Train­ing Syr­ian Rebels to Con­quer Golan Heights and Shoot Down Israeli Aircraft

3/15/13:  Hol­lande wants EU to lift Syria weapons ban

3/14/13:  Syria cri­sis: rebel war crimes increas­ing says Amnesty

3/13/13:  Report details dire plight of Syr­ian children

3/12/13:  UK hints at bypass­ing Syria arms embargo

3/8/13:  Syria attacks pre­vent UN peac­k­eeper rescue

3/6/13:  Syria’s war: Keep­ing up appearances

1/17/13:  Rus­sia Sends Arms to Syria:  Ships on their Way for Muni­tions Drop, Reports Say Two Russ­ian ships head­ing for a naval exer­cise off Syria this month are pick­ing up muni­tions to drop at the Syr­ian port of Tar­tous, news agen­cies reported on Thursday.

1/17/13:  Syria:  Proxy War by U.S. and Gulf Monar­chies “Syria is descend­ing into hell,” shouted three super hawks in the U.S. Sen­ate: John McCain of Ari­zona, Joseph L. Lieber­man of Con­necti­cut, and Lind­sey G. Gra­ham of South Carolina.

1/16/13:  Jihadi Fight­ers Win Hearts and Minds by Eas­ing Syria’s Bread Cri­sis Back in Novem­ber, as fierce fight­ing raged across Syria, peo­ple started to run out of this bread. Gov­ern­ment forces were attack­ing bak­eries in rebel-held areas and cut­ting off elec­tric­ity so mills couldn’t grind flour. By late last year, Syr­i­ans were desperate.

1/9/13:  Ter­ror­ist group fills power vac­uum among Syria rebels In the midst of the strug­gle against Bashar al-Assad’s gov­ern­ment stands Jab­hat al-Nusra, recently des­ig­nated by the U.S. State Depart­ment as a for­eign ter­ror­ist organization.

1/7/13:  Stop war in Syria before it becomes “field of ruins”: Pope Pope Bene­dict urged the world on Mon­day to end what he called the end­less slaugh­ter in Syria before the entire coun­try becomes a “a field of ruins”.

1/2/13:  After Assad, is strict Islamic rule ahead for Syria? The voice of Islamist groups is grow­ing louder in Syria as a num­ber of Syr­i­ans in the bat­tle­ground province of Aleppo are express­ing increas­ing inter­est in estab­lish­ing a gov­ern­ment that leans toward a strict Islamic state.

1/2/13:  Free Syr­ian Army claims it can make chem­i­cal weapons A promi­nent mem­ber of the Free Syr­ian Army claims the rebels have all the com­po­nents to pro­duce chem­i­cal weapons and have the know-how to put them together and use if nec­es­sary.  “If we ever use them, we will only hit the regime’s bases and cen­ters,” the polit­i­cal adviser of the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA), Bas­sam Al-Dada, was quoted by Turkey’s state-run Ana­to­lia news agency.

12/30/12:  In Syria, what’s left behind? The young Syr­ian rebel fighter kicked in the locked apart­ment doors with ease. Some yielded after two or three firm blows. Oth­ers required a bit more effort, but all even­tu­ally surrendered.

12/27/12:  War loot­ers threaten Syria’s her­itage In the destruc­tive chaos of the civil war, Syria’s archae­o­log­i­cal her­itage is dis­ap­pear­ing piece by piece across its bor­ders as smug­gling of looted antiq­ui­ties accelerates.

12/25/12:  Israel: No proof chem­i­cal weapon was used in Syria JERUSALEM — Israel voiced doubt on Tues­day about claims that chem­i­cal weapons had been used against rebels fight­ing to top­ple Pres­i­dent Bashar Assad.

12/24/12:  Syria activists: Sev­eral die after Assad’s forces use ‘poi­so­nous gases’ Sev­eral Syr­i­ans have died after inhal­ing poi­so­nous gas released by gov­ern­ment forces in rebel-held dis­tricts of Homs, local eye­wit­nesses and activists claimed Monday.

12/14/12:  U.S. troops will man Patriot bat­ter­ies along Turkey’s bor­der with Syria

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — The United States autho­rized on Fri­day the deploy­ment of 400 troops to man two Patriot missile-defense bat­ter­ies along Turkey’s bor­der with Syria, a move that could put Amer­i­can troops near the front lines of the Arab country’s esca­lat­ing civil war.

11/23/12:  Not all Syr­i­ans side with the rebels The Ger­man weekly news­pa­per Die Welt pub­lished a note by the BND — the Ger­man secret ser­vice — esti­mat­ing that 95 per­cent of the rebels occu­py­ing the city came from Turk­ish rear bases where Islam fight­ers from all over the world gather before going to war.

11/14/12:  U.S. wel­comes Syr­ian oppo­si­tion; pledges more aid The United States announced an extra $30 mil­lion in aid to those affected by the war in Syria on Wednes­day and called the for­ma­tion of a new oppo­si­tion coali­tion an impor­tant step that would help Wash­ing­ton bet­ter tar­get its help.

11/12/12:  Israel makes “direct hits” on Syria Israel has fired “direct hits” at Syr­ian mil­i­tary tar­gets in response to another round of mor­tar fire that landed in the occu­pied Golan Heights.

11/7/12:  Syria UN envoy warns coun­try could turn into Soma­lia as world strug­gles for viable options The U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria warned Tues­day that the coun­try could become another Soma­lia — where al-Qaida-linked mil­i­tants and war­lords bat­tled for decades after the ouster of a dic­ta­tor — if the civil war is not ended soon.

11/1/12:  China Presents Plan to End Syr­ian Con­flict A new pro­posal to end the con­flict in Syria was pre­sented on Thurs­day by China, one of the Syr­ian government’s few for­eign defend­ers, which calls for a phased-in truce, the estab­lish­ment of a tran­si­tional author­ity and an inten­si­fied inter­na­tional response to the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis afflict­ing mil­lions of Syrians.

10/30/12:  Syria rebels clash with Pales­tini­ans as envoy due in China DAMASCUS: Clashes erupted between Syr­ian rebels and troops backed by Pales­tin­ian fight­ers near Dam­as­cus Tues­day as the UN-Arab League peace envoy was due in China in a bid to revive strug­gling efforts to halt the violence.

10/22/12:  Kofi Annan on Syria:  Mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion “will make the suti­a­tion much worse;” Rep. Ryan “dead wrong” For­mer Secretary-General of the United Nations and for­mer United Nations-Arab League Joint Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Syria, Kofi Annan, spoke with CNN’sFareed Zakaria about the civil war inside Syria.  Annan states the rea­sons why he feels that mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion will not work in Syria, and he com­ments on why he feels Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the GOP nom­i­nee for vice pres­i­dent of the United States, is “dead wrong” for urg­ing mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Syria.  The tran­script of these remarks is below:

10/17/12:  Vat­i­can to Send Del­e­ga­tion to Syria The Vat­i­can said Wednes­day that it would send a high-profile del­e­ga­tion to Syria, includ­ing Car­di­nal Tim­o­thy M. Dolan of New York, to encour­age a polit­i­cal solu­tion to the war there.

10/16/12:  US troops oper­at­ing in Jor­dan near Syria bor­der US troops are oper­at­ing in Jor­dan near the Syr­ian bor­der in the biggest fixed deploy­ment of Amer­i­can force in the region since the end of oper­a­tions in Libya last year, offi­cials have confirmed.

10/15/12:  Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Ben­e­fit Jihadists in Syria WASHINGTON — Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Ara­bia and Qatar to sup­ply Syr­ian rebel groups fight­ing the gov­ern­ment of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more sec­u­lar oppo­si­tion groups that the West wants to bol­ster, accord­ing to Amer­i­can offi­cials and Mid­dle East­ern diplomats.